The Americans, the grim FX Network drama about Soviet spies living undercover in the United States during the 1980s, will be back for a fourth season on the basic cable Fox subsidiary. Though ratings for the downbeat, period show have floundered, The Americans remains among the most critically-acclaimed dramas on TV.
In fact, the show’s Metacritic score of 92 leads all current TV shows.
The Americans centers on what appears to be a typical suburban American family in the early years of the Ronald Reagan presidency. But Philip and Elizabeth Jennings — played by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys and former Felicity star Keri Russell — are undercover KGB agents forced into a marriage by their Soviet spymasters in order to blend in with American society.
The show tracks the evolving course of their relationship as they attempt to live as a normal couple and even raise children while also carrying out their deadly and brutal missions as Soviet spies and assassins.
The current Season 3 of The Americans still has four episodes remaining and concludes on April 22. Ratings for the most recent episode,which aired March 25 on FX, attracted only 988,000 viewers — a plunge of almost 13 percent from the previous week.
Since the Season 3 premiere on January 28, which drew almost 1.9 million viewers, this season of The Americans peaked at 1.224 million on March 11. That week also saw a 0.35 rating in the all-important 18 to 49 year-old demographic, the season’s highest since the first week.
The FX Network, however, has claimed that weekly viewership is actually about 4.2 million when time-shifted viewings of The Americans via DVR and on-demand downloads are factored in.
But the network made it clear that the prestige brought by the show’s critical reception is what has kept The Americans in production for another 13 episodes.
“Remarkably, this season of The Americans has achieved even greater acclaim than that of its first two seasons,” said Nick Grad, FX president of programming. “The series has cemented it status with critics as television’s best current drama and arguably the best show on TV, and we couldn’t agree more.”
The New Yorker magazine called The Americans, “a thrilling, moving, clever show about human intimacy—possibly the best current drama out there.”
Rolling Stone magazine is also among the many media sources to have heaped praise on The Americans, calling the show “the greatest drama on TV right now.”
[Image: FX Network]